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When philosophy of life changes, is encircled by material happiness and satisfaction

By Harasankar Adhikari  
The present era might be considered as trans-modern era. Globalization has been accelerated by different lucrative attractions to material needs and demands in daily life. The philosophy of life has changed, and it is now encircled by the search for material happiness and satisfaction.
It is not to know oneself, as Ramakrishna Paramahans preached, and this Vedantic philosophy is now disregarded. Therefore, multi-dimensional violence takes on a prime role in society. Everybody runs to catch happiness, or how to be happy, regardless of his or her quality and capacity.
May we remember the tale of Jamal in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ who serendipitously moves towards riches and love due to extreme imitation of reel heroes and the urban community? Everybody imitates others to try to be happy and satisfied in this materialistic world. But they are depressed and unhappy because they failed to achieve their desired target of happiness and satisfaction.
But what is happiness? From Einstein's ‘Theory of Happiness’, “it is infinitely more relative than general relativity, so it's difficult for science to offer a definitive answer”. It is a state of mind that "leads to behaviors that often produce further success in work, relationships, and health, and these successes result in part from a person's positive effect." Therefore, happiness is a myth, and it is the hedonic treadmill.
Now what would be the parameters of happiness? What would be the durability of happiness? Perhaps there is no distinct answer to the above. At present, happiness is determined by the fulfillment of material gains in one's life. One could be happy for a while when he or she would be able to access one material.
After a while, he or she would be unhappy or dissatisfied because it was old and poor compared to another. He or she would cry for what he or she gets; he or she does not like it. So, material demand and the desire for happiness are unstable states of mind. It is like the "theory of vomiting."
Those who have a big, furnished house with modern amenities and sleep in a very costly bed, are they the happiest forever? What is a difference of availing personal car and public transport? It is nothing else other than a personal status and identity. It is apparently a symbol of happiness. It has no use because they never reach their destination in time, in spite of their own cars.
Bertrand Russell criticized that the status of a doctor is never determined by owing of a personal car. It would not narrow their professional zeal if a doctor availed himself of public transport. We see that not a single doctor reaches his or her clinic in time.
In our society, we observe that the less privileged section also runs behind happiness. It is evident when an examinee runs behind marks; he or she is depressed when he or she fails to reach his or her target. If he or she prepares well, marks will automatically run behind him or her. Our experience tells only about the bitterness.
Why people are sad/unhappy. The answer is very simple due to the search for material happiness. From Lord Buddha to Swami Vivekananda, he preaches that spirituality is the only source of happiness in human life. Materials want and need to ever achieve happiness. It pushes one into the world of darkness and unhappiness.
The culture of searching for happiness is the great problem of every society. The goal of a human life is not to supplement or complement the materialist world. It has increased different unexpected evils—torture, violence, suicide, etc. It is the cause of inter- and intra-personal disturbance and the competition of life. Voluntary simplicity would bring happiness to life, and it would help to reach a real target of human peace.
For the achievement of real happiness and satisfaction in human life, we may refer to spiritualism or Sankhya philosophy, which deals with nature and God and which we get from histories. It teaches human beings to sacrifice, love others, live together, be selfless, practise voluntary simplicity, and so forth. It rejects greediness. The overall teaching of this spiritualism is to make the world free from violence and a peaceful place where everybody respects each other.
The immediate effects of the materialism are greed, self-centred, hate and violence, etc. It is meant as a competition among human beings. This doctrine is pushing the human being into a dangerous condition where the human being is ignoring the peaceful existence of the universe for the fulfillment of material needs and demands.
For example, they are regularly facing the problems of climate change and global warming. But they do not consider it an obstacle to their aristocracy. No politics or political system ever saves the human being and the universe. 
Spiritualism and its practices could protect human beings from self-torture and self-decay. It is also within the realm of natural science, which was proved by Swami Vivekananda in his writings. To save humanity from unhappiness, there is a need for behavioural modification.

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